Water war of a different kind..

The importance of water in our lives needs no emphasis really. Much of economic development and migration has happened due to availability/lack of water. Despite its importance, we have mismanaged the resource heavily. We are already talking how water is going to set the stage for world wars in future. We are already seeing some regions already fighting for water rights.

This is an interesting article by Alisa Reznick of Boston Review on the issue. Though, it is of a different kind. It is a case where some rebels have taken controls of water supply in a region and demanding govt for all kinds of favors:

Ain al-Fijah’s rebel takeover was swift. By November 2011, soon after demonstrations beginning in the southern city of Daraa spread as far as Homs and Aleppo in the north, Ain al-Fijah was already raging. Many residents took up arms and joined the Free Syrian Army (FSA), an insurgent group with a nationalist vision.

Mohammed said street protests became more violent after dark, with armed civilians wresting control from police and civil workers. Two months later, the village had been declared “liberated” from Assad. At the time, it represented minimal gains for the rebels. But the territory, and its water supply, would end up defining their fight against Damascus.

Control of the spring meant rebels had the ability to shut down its flow entirely—and with it, much of the capital’s water supply. Snowmelt feeds freshwater into a small pumping station in the basin village. From there, it travels about ten miles by pipeline to a government-controlled facility on Mount Qasioun, where it is pumped back downhill to fourteen villages across the region and finally to Damascus.

Since government forces withdrew from Ain al-Fijah at the beginning of 2012, the FSA has taken advantage of this position. Abu Muhammad al-Baradawi, a media activist in Ain al-Fijah, told me over Skype that the rebels’ largest victory came in November 2014, when Syrian ground forces were repelled from Wadi Barada’s villages after the FSA cut the water supply. “The water from Ain al-Fijah was shut off for three days,” he said. “The government was forced to answer to their demands, which usually includes prisoner releases and the withdrawal of government troops.”

Rebels last shut off the spring in August 2015. Opposition factions were locked in battle with government forces and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah in the area around Al-Zabadani, some nine miles northwest of Ain al-Fijah. Baradawi said a few hundred rebels left the village to join FSA brigades and al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra fighters. At home, the village rebels shut off the spring’s pumping station, slicing the water output to Damascus by 90 percent for three days.

To some degree, it worked. A handful of prisoners were released and an official cease-fire took hold shortly after. In Damascus, water shortages and rationing sent residents into a panic, especially as rumors circulated about a rebel threat to bomb the spring and destroy the supply for good.

Terrifying stuff..Using age old blackmailctactics of cutting off water..

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